Virgin stores md takes wider role

Virgin Entertainment Group has appointed Megastores managing director Simon Wright to the post of chief operating officer as the group embarks on a major expansion drive.

Wright will add responsibility for the launch of Virgin Cinemas overseas to his role managing the foreign expansion of the Megastores chain.

He is taking on both roles on a temporary basis following last week’s departure of Virgin Entertainment chief executive Simon Burke. He has left to join struggling toy retailer Hamleys, as chief executive.

Last month, Virgin announced it is to build three multiplex cinemas in Japan (MW April 1).

The company also has plans to extend its launch of Megastores in Germany in other European markets, as well as expand its presence in the US.

Wright will take charge of the attempted sell-off of 230-outlet music chain Our Price, for which a management buyout bid is being considered.

A deal fell through in the New Year following better-than-expected Christmas trading results. Virgin is believed to be holding out for a higher price.

Virgin spokesman William Whitehorn says Wright will take on the chief operating officer’s role on a temporary basis while a new Megastores managing director is found.

He denies that the departure of Burke will hinder the company’s plans.

He adds: “Simon Wright is well-acknowledged as one of the best retailers of his generation in the UK.

“I’m sure he will do a great job [as chief operating officer].”

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